Test your prospective SEO company and their knowledge. Ask them what they know about recent Google algorithm updates as well as past ones just to make sure they aren’t blowing smoke. Questions to ask Ask them how long they have been doing SEO and how many clients they have. If they can give you the names of a few reputable ones than that is a good sign and find out how long they have been working with them. If they have client testimonials on their site that is a plus as well. Ask if you can speak to a current client of theirs, and if they can’t provide one, it is because they don’t have any happy clients. How many writers and graphic designers do they have in-house? This is important, because without them you will not get high-quality content, which you need in a long-term SEO campaign. Do they offer social media services that optimize social pages as well as build relationships with industry experts and social influencers? If you know a few of their current clients, look at their Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Google+ pages. Look at how many followers they have, their customer engagement, and how many likes, retweets, and +1’s they get on average for each post. Watch out for black hatters A good trick question is asking if they can guarantee to be on the 1st page. If they say they can, then they use black hat practices and you should continue your search. Black hat practices are ways that you can get to the top of the search engines very quickly, but then you will be penalized and booted from the top of the rankings for a very long time, if not for forever. If you hire a SEO company to solely do SEO and they didn’t design and optimize the site, or no one did, then that is the first biggest mistake to a campaign. Always ask what they do before they start doing SEO for your site, and the answer should be optimize everything on your site. What kind of reporting do you need? Find out what kind of reports you will be getting, and whether they are weekly or monthly. Weekly can be a bit much, so don’t go crazy, because rankings can fluctuate. Monthly reports show a better range of time that can help you understand your campaign and see if your results are what you are looking for. That doesn’t mean you should fire a SEO company if the first month’s results weren’t what you expected. SEO takes time when done right; months if not years, and they should tell you that, so be prepared to be in it for the long haul. A sign of a good SEO company is if they ask you questions as well to make sure you are a good fit for them. If they just take on any client, like the kind that wants to be ranked 1st on Google in a week, then they aren’t the right SEO company for you. Hopefully these questions will help you in finding the best SEO company for your business. Always do your due diligence and ask tons of questions before signing up for any service. Images: “Search Engine Optimization – SEO Sign in Browser Window/ Shutterstock.com“ __________________________________________________________________________________ Connect with Tweak Your Biz: Would you like to write for Tweak Your Biz? Tweak Your Biz is an international, business advice community and online publication. Today it is read by over 140,000 business people each month (unique visitors, Google Analytics, December, 2013). See our review of 2013 for more information. An outstanding title can increase tweets, Facebook Likes, and visitor traffic by 50% or more. Generate great titles for your articles and blog posts with the Tweak Your Biz Title Generator.